Since we last spoke in the Summer of 2020, Jaelin P has taken his brand, No Rivals, to the next level. Speaking to Jaelin from LA– where he is now based– it’s clear that his hard work has opened doors that he once dreamed of. No Rivals is continuing to push sustainable practices as well as supporting up-and-coming artists along the way to better the environment and creative economy that it operates in.
Euan Makepeace: Tell me about the evolution that the brand has gone through in the past two years since we last spoke?
Jaelin P: Since then we have moved our base to Los Angeles, California to the garment district. This was to help with production as well as allowing us to learn from bigger brands or designers and incorporating that into our business.
EM: How did you decide on LA being where you wanted to continue running No Rivals from?
JP: It happened after we went one a pop-up tour in different cities. We had exclusive gear and some music performances going on and one of the cities that really stood out on this tour was LA.
EM: What were some of those other cities you toured around?
JP: We did a couple of cities in Indiana: Muncie, Indianapolis, Marion and Fort Wayne. And then we went to Florida and did Miami, Tampa and Orlando and then when we were in California we did LA, Sacramento and another city in the valley that I’m forgetting the name of.
EM: Was it during that time when you were out there in LA that you had started making connections or did you already have those in place?
JP: A lot of the initial connections had been made already– given the power of the internet– before going into it. I definitely didn’t plan to move here any time soon, it just kind of
happened. We started with the tour, and we kept having to come back and the stays kept getting longer and longer and then the next thing you know, now I live here.
EM: How has that impacted the production of new pieces being in LA versus in Indiana?
JP: It’s opened up our eyes to what is possible. The exposure to things, like right now I’m
looking at an MCM and a Balenciaga store, made us up what we’re doing. We realized that what we were doing was not to a higher enough tier. It’s been great in terms of having a vision and being able to make it a reality quickly and efficiently. Being here has also been good because a big thing that we do is providing opportunities for up-and-coming creatives, mainly from the Midwest. We act as a proxy getting connections and opportunities for artists who otherwise wouldn’t have been in the room.
EM: It sounds like you may have already answered this a bit already but how have you kept Indiana within the brand?
JP: We still do shows in our hometown in Muncie – like fashion events or music shows. We
actually just broke $13,000 in payouts to Indiana artists through things like booking fees and merch sales. We also did a food drive at the most recent show and we raised close to the
equivalent of 1,000 meals in food donations and we were also able to raise some money on the side and bundle that all in and donated it to the homeless shelter in our hometown so that was really dope.
EM: A bit part of No Rivals when we first spoke was sustainability. How have you kept the brand true to that?
JP: They are very environmentally conscious in LA. There’s energy and water restriction so that all trickles down into the fashion community. Fabric suppliers tend to lean towards sustainable fabrics like vegan suede or organic recycled cotton. It’s helped us to be able to use more thoughtfully produced fabrics rather than just reusing old things in the same state they were.
EM: You’ve also been featured in British GQ recently, tell me a little about that?
JP: For the past three months we’ve been featured in British GQ’s fashion selection section. They had reached out to us in 2019 but the stuff we were making then wasn’t at the quality that we felt comfortable putting on a platform that big. So recently, when we released the vegan jacket and that whole Fall collection, we knew that it was at that point to where it could stand among a Gucci piece or a Prada piece.
EM: We’re approaching the release of your No Rivals Spring/Summer collection, what are you hoping to get across through it?
JP: The upcoming collection is titled Create Destroy and is centered around the duality of being a creative and using sustainable methods of production or art creation. The collection is also going to focus on highlighting different creatives. So, the models for the look book will be creatives and we are going to tell their story. We want to highlight what they do and be able to spread the message that it’s okay to create what you want and to create it how you want to. Even if you don’t have a stereotypical story of someone like Drake or Picasso. A lot of the pieces are grunge inspired, but we also wanted it to feel DIY. We’ve had a lot of feedback lately from creatives who we haven’t worked with, either back home or in the area, saying that they’re really inspired, and our pieces have changed their perspective. We want to put something out garment wise that’s high quality as far as the fabrics used but the graphics look DIY and grunge. That’s tapping back to where we started and connecting to where we are now. Hopefully that shows someone that is still creating in their living room or on their floor that that might be where they are right now but it’s only a matter of time.
EM: You’ve also released a collaboration with Plaine, can you give us an insight into what went down with that?
JP: Plaine is a streetwear retailer in downtown Los Angeles. They’re pretty new but their mission is to empower up and coming designers in an area where that’s not necessarily common. We did a collection of hoodies and some turtleneck sweaters with them and dropped exclusively there. We’re currently planning an event that will happen sometime in April to commemorate those. The graphic on the pieces – the eight-sided star – is the alchemical symbol for creation. The whole idea is that if you’re wearing it and you’ve got that graphic on you or wearing the gloves with that graphic, you’re channeling that energy into whatever you’re working on.
EM: Finally, anything exciting on the horizon for you or the brand?
JP: This a good time to preview this but with the rollout of the Create Destroy collection one of the things we are going to do is a giveaway. The goal is to challenge creatives to show us what they do and tell their story. For the winner or winners, we haven’t deiced yet, we want to fly them out to LA and put on a show for them. To give them the opportunity and see where they take it.